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Island native loves LaGrange

The Daily News’ weekly Neighbors series features one person from LaGrange and the surrounding area.

This week we spoke with Teresa Taylor, the assistant city manager for the City of LaGrange. She works behind the scenes to make sure that the city runs smoothly on a daily basis.

LaGrange Daily News: Where are you from originally?

Taylor: I’m originally from St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands. I came to Atlanta to go to Emory University, and then I stayed and did my masters here.

LDN: What attracted you to LaGrange?

Taylor: Downtown. When I came to interview, I just sat down in the middle of the square and just really loved the vibe, loved the place. I am from a small town. My island was 32 square miles, so I really like that small-town feel. But, in the interview, what I fell in love with was all of what is coming and the challenge of getting the city ready for those things. So, with Great Wolf (Lodge) coming and the amphitheater just revving up and all the different things coming and starting, who knew we were going to have (an) ice (skating rink)? It is pretty cool. It is an exciting time to be here.

LDN: What do you enjoy doing in your free time?

Taylor: I enjoy cooking (and) working out. … I like traditional dishes from back home. It is just a way for me to connect with my culture and call my dad and say, “hey, what do I put in this recipe and what do I do?” And we are lucky to have a farmers’ market and a lot of different grocery stores, so I’ve been surprised. … And I like working out, so I like walking. I love The Thread. I think that that is a beautiful development we have. That is another thing that I am super excited about. One for someone who lives in the community, just having it as an amenity and getting to see people on The Thread walking and talk to them. I think it is just a great amenity to connect people and get people outdoors. I know sometimes we are on screens all day, but I also think I like The Thread from working here because it has been one of those things that bridges some of the gaps. Public Works is working with the senior planner that is working with (other people). It is just an interdepartmental project which has been fun to see everybody trying to lead and work together.

LDN: Where in your opinion is the most beautiful place in Troup County?

Taylor: Well, I’m a water baby, so I’ll say West Point Lake. I’m from the Virgin Islands, and that was another thing that attracted me to here too. The fact that you guys have water because I’m from islands surrounded by water, so I’m used to seeing water. That is definitely beautiful. I think the square. I think the fountain is beautiful, especially that view from the (Courtyard by) Marriott. … And then the sunset at Sweetland (Ampthitheatre). When you are standing at the top and you see the sunset, it is really beautiful.

LDN: Is there anything else that you would like to add?

Taylor: I am really excited to be here. We just won the Live, Work, Play award, and I really feel like that is kind of what is exciting. We have a lot of good jobs. I love my job here. It is a lot of excitement, and there is value that I can add. But then (there is) play like having Sweetland. My dad is considering flying out from the Virgin Islands — not like considering, he is looking at flights. That is what I mean by considering. (He will be) flying out from the Virgin Islands to see Gladys Knight. That is one of his favorite artists, so just the fact that in our size community we can host some major stars.

It is a cool place to live. Everybody is very friendly, and it’s funny because a friend of mine from the Virgin Islands was here about two weeks ago, on a separate business thing not related, and we had lunch at Mare Sol. I was waving at Page (Estes, the president of the LaGrange-Troup County Chamber of Commerce), and he was like, “Oh my gosh, you are already in the know. You already know people. I was like, “It is a small community. That is the cool part.” You can be embraced right away as opposed to in big cities you feel very unknown. Coming from the Virgin Islands and coming to the state side, it can be overwhelming, and here you have that comfort of like hometown feel.

‘Neighbors’ is a weekly series by the Daily News that highlights community members. To nominate a person to be featured, call 706-884-7311.